Happy 36th birthday to Jon Pardi, who was born May 20, 1985.
Pardi released his debut album, Write You a Song, in 2014, and followed it with 2016’s California Sunrise–home to Pardi’s breakthrough “Boot” hits, “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt on my Boots.” In 2019, he released his third studio album, Heartache Medication. Along the way, he’s been unapologetic about making his own brand of amped up, fiddle-and-steel drenched country music, proudly showing off the influence of artists named Jackson, Strait, Owens, Yoakam and Haggard.
“There’s a big void to fill in country music, to be more country, or traditional,” he said via a statement. “You can’t be too soft, and you have to have some attitude. I just like the fiddle and the steel and guitars all working together. This is not like a throwback, just a different era of traditional. So, you know, this is what I do; this is me. I love a good beat, good lyrics and a good melody. Put a bunch of great country sounds around that, and it’s pretty awesome.”
Here, we take a look at five essential Pardi songs.
“Dirt on My Boots”
In this 2017 smash hit, Pardi might be ending a long day working in the fields, but that doesn’t mean he’s not going to show his lover a fun night out on the town–even if that does mean he has some dirt on his boots. The song earned several awards nominations, including Single of the Year and Song of the Year from the Country Music Association, as well as a nomination for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the CMT Music Awards. It also earned 3x multi-platinum sales status from the Recording Industry Association of America.
“Head Over Boots”
In 2016, this toe-tapping, dance floor-ready romp earned Pardi his first No. 1 hit. The track also earned 3x multi-platinum status. Pardi dug his heels in, raising a banner for bringing traditional-minded sounds back to country radio.
“You know ‘Head Over Boots’ was one of the countriest songs off California Sunrise,” he said via a release. “And it was one of our biggest singles, so it led us to feel like we could go in this direction. My label was like, ‘Don’t be afraid to be more traditional.The ball’s in your court, man. We’re perfectly fine with this!’”
“Ain’t Always The Cowboy”
Pardi turns the “cowboy rides away into the sunset” sentiment on its head in this track. This time around, it is the girl who leaves the guy brokenhearted.
“It was just such an anthem for girls and guys, or for the girls trying to do her own things,” Pardi said of the song via a statement. “It’s kind of a leaving song, but a happy leaving song. It’s about going out to chase her dreams, be independent or do her thing. He ain’t mad about it, and I thought that was a really cool outlook of a song and melody; just everything about it was awesome.”
“My Next Broken Heart”
Pardi joined superstar duo Brooks & Dunn for a remake of this 1991 classic, for B&D’s Reboot project. Watch below as B&D and Pardi perform the song as part of CMT Crossroads.
This opening song to Pardi’s Heartache Medication exposes the through-line of the influence artists such as Alan Jackson and George Strait have had on Pardi’s music. In “Old Hat,” he champions staying true to your word, treating your lover with respect and other things that get called, as Pardi sings, “out of style, obsolete” in today’s world.
These days, they call you crazy/If you hold the door for a lady/If you don’t call her “girl” ’stead of “baby”/If a promise is somethin’ you don’t break/You’re the last of a dyin’ breed, he sings.